A player who will likely be one of the top junior college basketball players in the nation this year is Hutchinson (KS) Community College forward/center Aaron Pettway. Aaron, who is a very athletic 6-10, 230-pounder, officially visited Mississippi State this past weekend. Gene's Page caught up with and interviewed Aaron via the telephone this past Tuesday night."> A player who will likely be one of the top junior college basketball players in the nation this year is Hutchinson (KS) Community College forward/center Aaron Pettway. Aaron, who is a very athletic 6-10, 230-pounder, officially visited Mississippi State this past weekend. Gene's Page caught up with and interviewed Aaron via the telephone this past Tuesday night.">

Aaron Pettway Update

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/juniorcollege/basketball/2004/bbpettwy.jpg" align="left" width="120" height="160"> A player who will likely be one of the top junior college basketball players in the nation this year is Hutchinson (KS) Community College forward/center Aaron Pettway. Aaron, who is a very athletic 6-10, 230-pounder, officially visited Mississippi State this past weekend. Gene's Page caught up with and interviewed Aaron via the telephone this past Tuesday night.

Aaron Pettway Interview:

Why did you decide to officially visit Mississippi State?
"First of all, they showed a lot of interest in me this past summer while I was in Maryland working out. That was a big key because I was seeing who was interested in me and not so much who I liked. That doesn't do me any good. I could like a school all day, but if they aren't interested in me, then I can't go there. The success of their big men was also a key because I'm looking forward to developing and improving. I don't want to go to a school just because they want me for what I can do now. I want them to take what I can do now and take me further."

How was your Mississippi State visit?
"When I got down there I wanted to see as much as I could. Because the decision is such a big decision, I want to make sure I get as much information as I can from each place that I go to. I didn't really know too much about Mississippi State. I have heard about Mario Austin but that was about it. I really didn't start watching college ball until last year, my first year at Hutch. When I was in the military, I didn't really think much about it. I might watch ESPN highlights every now and then, but I never really followed college ball."

Now that you have visited Mississippi State, what are your impressions of it?
"It was nice. I liked that it is so spaced out but you can still get to all the classes without having to drive. And being from Mobile, Alabama, I like the country and like to see grass and trees. The coliseum was real nice. I got a chance to hang out with the guys and they are real cool. It was a nice trip."

Is your family still in Mobile?
"Yes sir. As a matter of fact, they came up to the school when I went down to visit (Mississippi State)."

Since your family is located in the south, will playing in the south be a factor in your decision?
"It's not really a factor. It is one of the last things that I will look at. I am used to being away from home. It's kind of funny that my parents, my brothers and sisters have never seen me play."

You can only visit five. I know Mississippi State was one. Have you visited any others?
"Yes sir, I visited Georgetown the weekend before Mississippi State."

Who else are you going to visit?
"That's it for right now. I'm going to wait and take the rest of my visits later on during the fall because they are real tiresome."

What schools other than Mississippi State are recruiting you?
"Florida, Florida State, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma State, Maryland and Howard."

Are you going to sign in November or wait until the spring?
"I'm signing late."

How did colleges find out about you?
"When I was at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, I met up with a guy named Reverend Lennox Earwood who saw me playing in the gym. He is real good friends with another guy named Walter Ray who runs a program called E.G.O.S., (Equal Goals Opportunity and Sports). He basically helps kids who have been out of high school and aren't really being recruited. He knows a lot of junior college coaches and a couple of D-I coaches and he calls them up and they come down. He looks at all the players before he calls the coaches to make sure they are credible because his word is his bond. He saw me play and liked me so he called a couple of junior college coaches. He called up Hagerstown, Hutch and Monroe. They came down and watched me. I took a visit to Monroe, Hagerstown and Hutch and I picked Hutch out of those three. That is basically how I got there.

"I went back up to that area this summer and he got me a job with his sister's law offices. I was working with her. I was also working out with a lot of people in the area, which helped me a lot. A couple of schools that were recruiting me came to see me (play) and a couple of other guys saw me and saw my potential and how much better I had gotten since last year. From there, it spread like wildfire."

He obviously did a good job getting your name out.
"Yes sir, he knows a lot of people. He basically called some coaches and they probably did some more talking and it went from there."

How did you do at Hutchinson CC last season?
"I really didn't do too much. That was my first year of real basketball because I didn't play high school basketball. I played ball while at Andrews and that was my first taste of any kind of organized basketball. The summer before I went to Hutch, I sprained my ankle and tore it up pretty bad, so I hadn't played in almost six months. I was basically in the rehab stage with my ankle and really starting from scratch."

It sounds like you weren't really getting recruited during your freshman year at Hutch?
"Not really. When I first got there, I didn't even think I was fit to be at Hutch. I really didn't expect any of this would go down like it has. It has been more of a surprise than anything. Once I got there, I had to start from scratch. I had to get my ankle better and get in shape. I had a slow start because I had never played college ball so it was like a shock to me and I had to get used to it. By the time I really got in the swing of things, it was late in the season. The only way coaches saw me was because they were looking at other players and they saw me playing. It stirred up a little interest among schools."

You mentioned that you didn't play basketball in high school. Did you not have any interest in playing basketball back then?
"I was about 6-2 back when I was in high school. I wanted to play. I tried out twice. It was too late, so I decided I was going to go to work. I then went into the military." [Aaron, who is 23-years old, has grown almost 8 inches since he graduated from high school.-Gene]

I know you are a tall kid and have a big body, but considering the number of schools that are recruiting you, you've got to have more than that going for you?
"For my size, I can run real well and I like to run. I have real good feet. I think I almost have feet like a guard. I'm also a pretty good shot blocker. A lot of people, when they see me play, are surprised how well I can get up and down the court."

Do you have pretty good leaping ability?
"Yeah, that is another thing that I can do. I not only can run but I can also jump."

What about your offense and rebounding? How good are you at those?
"I'm pretty good at rebounding. I didn't really do too much (offensively) last year and this summer, but I have always had a shot, but I just didn't shoot it. My post moves are probably the only thing that is lacking. That's what I worked on this summer and hope to polish this year."

What position do you play?
"I kind of like playing (power) forward. I would like to play the three spot if possible."

Since you wouldn't mind playing the three spot, do you have an outside shot?
"Yes sir, that is something that I worked on this summer. I have always had a shot but just didn't shoot it that much."


Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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